laurie laurie, March 31, 2017

From Jay O’Hara – Climate Disobedience Action Fund:

Yesterday Michael Foster (who turned the valve on TransCanada’s Keystone pipeline in North Dakota), and Sam Jessup (who was livestreaming Michael’s action) were in Pembina County Court in Cavalier, North Dakota. Sam’s parents and Leonard Higgins (valve turner on Spectra’s Express pipeline) were also there in support. The hearing was essentially for the judge to decide if the charges against them had sufficient evidence to move to trial with.

And the answer in one case is – NO. Two of the biggest charges – felony reckless endangerment – have been dropped against both Michael and Sam. The remaining charges for Michael are felony criminal mischief, misdemeanor reckless endangerment, and misdemeanor trespass, with maximum penalties of 24 years. Sam is charged with felony conspiracy to criminal mischief, misdemeanor conspiracy to reckless endangerment, and misdemeanor trespass, with a maximum sentence of 12 years. These are all serious charges, but given the burden of proof and the reduced charges, it just got notably less likely that they’ll spend years in prison.

Valvet Turner Picture

What’s next?

The valve turners are continuing their speaking tours. In April, they’re touring colleges and universities in the Puget Sound region. Find more info here. Following Ken’s trial, the valve turners will be touring the east coast starting right after Memorial Day. If you’re in the east and want to help organize, please reply to this email to be in touch.

Ken Ward’s re-trial has been finally rescheduled to May 22nd in Skagit County, Washington. And Leonard Higgins has a tentative trial date in Montana set for July 18th.

As always, the valve turners appreciate and depend on your donations to support them through trial. Thank you for all you’ve done so far. You can always donate online at
Climate Disobedience Action Fund – 154 Dutton Rd, China, ME 04358